CHEYENNE, Wyo - Advocates are traveling across the country to raise awareness about The Global Fund and what it means to thousands around the world.
According to The Global Fund website the organization has saved more than 27 million people around the world suffering with HIV/AIDS.
The Trump administration budget cuts funding for the global fight against the disease. Wyoming is now central to setting the US agenda on global health because Senator Barrasso is on the Foreign Relations Committee and Senator Enzi as Chair of the Budget Committee.
Loyce Maturu is one of the advocates traveling around the country to bring awareness to The Global Fund. Maturu is 27 years old and was born with HIV in Zimbabwe. By age 10, she had lost both her parents and her brother. Growing up with HIV, she faced stigma and verbal abuse from some of her relatives, nearly committed suicide, missed school often due to ill health, and struggled to obtain money to get to the clinic.
Loyce didn’t start receiving HIV treatment until she contracted TB when she was 12 years old. Not long after, she joined Africaid’s Zvandiri Program as a beneficiary. There she had the chance to meet peers with the same status. She started gaining confidence and realized she had a life ahead of her. Since 2009, she has been working with Africaid as a volunteer peer counselor and advocacy officer on treatment, care, and support for children, adolescents and young people living with HIV.
She has spoken around the world about the fight against TB and HIV/AIDS, sharing a stage with Melinda Gates, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Elton John, and many others. As a member of the Young People’s Network hosted by the National AIDS Council, Loyce has also contributed to a variety of national policies, guidelines, and training curriculum. Loyce is also a member of the Communities Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund and the Steering Committee of the Y+ Network of Young People Living with HIV.
While the AIDS epidemic is in decline, the prevalence of HIV in Zimbabwe remains among the highest in the world. The incidence of TB in Zimbabwe has increased dramatically in recent years, with TB now being the most common cause of death for people living with HIV.
The replenishment conference for The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is this coming up this fall.